Terms & signs

In Grade 1, you need to know the following terms and signs.  Remember there is a webinar on this subject for you to view and you can also try the ‘quick test’.

accelerando gradually getting quicker
adagio slow
allegretto fairly quick (but not as quick as allegro)
allegro quick
andante at a walking pace
cantabile in a singing style
crescendo (or cresc.) gradually getting louder
da capo (or D.C.) repeat from the beginning
dal segno (or D.S.) repeat from the sign
descrescendo (or decresc.) gradually getting quieter
diminuendo (or dim.) gradually getting quieter
fine the end
f (forte) loud
ff (fortissimo) very loud
legato smoothly
lento slow
mezzo half
maestoso majestic
mf (mezzo forte) moderately loud
mp (mezzo piano) moderately quiet
moderato moderately
p (piano) quiet
pp (pianissimo) very quiet
poco a little
rallentando (or rall.) gradually getting slower
ritardando (or rit.) gradually getting slower
ritenuto (or rit.) held back
staccato (or stacc.) detached
tempo speed, time























Below are the signs you need to know for Grade 1.

These signs above and below the notes are accents.


A dot over or under a note means staccato (short and detached).


This sign over or under a note is a pause. Pause on the note.


This sign over a group of notes is called a slur, not to be confused with a tie. Perform the notes smoothly.


Repeat marks.



Back to the Grade 1 syllabus